Week Twelve of Your Pregnancy


Week 12 Info


Baby - Your baby is just over 2 " long - about the size of a lime and weighs half an ounce.  The most dramatic change this week is that your baby's fingers will begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench and his mouth will begin making sucking movements.  Although you won't be able to feel it your baby will begin to move in response to your belly being poked.  Nearly all of your baby's organs, structures and systems are fully formed.  The heart begins pumping several quarts of blood through your baby's body every day.  You may be able to hear your baby's heart beat at this office visit with the use of a Doppler.  If will sound very fast, about twice the speed of an adults heart.  Hear the heart beat at this visit is very reassuring as it indicates that your risk of miscarriage is greatly reduced and you've made it out of your first trimester.

Body - Your uterus has grown to the point that your healthcare provider can now feel the top of it "the fundus" low in your abdomen, just above your pubic bone.  You may be able to hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time at this prenatal visit and this can be a very moving experience for many women.  Many of my patients have recorded this first heartbeat on their cell phones or other recording devises so that they can share it with friends and family.

You may begin to feel heartburn and many women describe it as a burning sensation that extends from the bottom of your breastbone to your lower throat.  It's often worse when you lay down or after certain meals.  If it bothers you mostly at night try raising the head of your bed slightly, avoid significant amounts of liquid right before bedtime and keep Tums handy.  Tums can help to neutralize mild heartburn and contains calcium that is good for you and your baby.  If you find these simple tricks aren't helping, discuss other options with your healthcare provider.

Your uterus will begin to shift up and forward as it grows.  This will temporarily relieve some of the pressure on the bladder and you may notice fewer trips to the bathroom.  Don't get too excited, it won't be long until the baby and uterus will be large enough to start pressing on your bladder again.

Recommend -You will be making your final decision about testing for birth defects at this time if you haven't already.  The First and Second-trimester screens are tests that will give you a risk estimate for the chance that your baby could have a genetic disorder.  There is no physical risk to these tests but they will not give a definitive diagnosis.  The results can help you decide if you should have the more definitive amniocentesis or chorionic villous sampling.  These tests have a small risk of miscarriage but will give you a more accurate diagnosis.  Your practitioner or genetic counselor can discuss the pros and cons of these tests but ultimately, whether or not to test is a personal decision.

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